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The Church-Builder Analysis

Author: Poetry of Thomas Hardy Type: Poetry Views: 105

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Poems of the Past and the Present1901The church flings forth a battled shadeOver the moon-blanched sward:The church; my gift; whereto I paidMy all in hand and hoard;Lavished my gainsWith stintless painsTo glorify the Lord.I squared the broad foundations inOf ashlared masonry;I moulded mullions thick and thin,Hewed fillet and ogee;I circletedEach sculptured headWith nimb and canopy.I called in many a craftsmasterTo fix emblazoned glass,To figure Cross and SepulchureOn dossal, boss, and brass.My gold all spent,My jewels wentTo gem the cups of Mass.I borrowed deep to carve the screenAnd raise the ivoried Rood;I parted with my small demesneTo make my owings good.Heir-looms unpricedI sacrificed,Until debt-free I stood.So closed the task. "Deathless the CreedHere substanced!" said my soul:"I heard me bidden to this deed,And straight obeyed the call.Illume this fane,That not in vainI build it, Lord of all!"But, as it chanced me, then and thereDid dire misfortunes burst;My home went waste for lack of care,My sons rebelled and curst;Till I confessedThat aims the bestWere looking like the worst.Enkindled by my votive workNo burnng faith I find;The deeper thinkers sneer and smirk,And give my toil no mind;From nod and winkI read they thinkThat I am fool and blind.My gift to God seems futile, quite;The world moves as erstwhile;And powerful Wrong on feeble RightTramples in olden style.My faith burns down,I see no crown;But Cares, and Griefs, and Guile.So now, the remedy? Yea, this:I gently swing the doorHere, of my fane--no soul to wis--And cross the patterned floorTo the rood-screenThat stands betweenThe nave and inner chore.The rich red windows dim the moon,But little light need I;I mount the prie-dieu, lately hewnFrom woods of rarest dye;Then from belowMy garment, so,I draw this cord, and tieOne end thereof around the beamMidway 'twixt Cross and truss:I noose the nethermost extreme,And in ten seconds thusI journey hence--To that land whenceNo rumour reaches us.Well: Here at morn they'll light on oneDangling in mockeryOf what he spent his substance onBlindly and uselessly!..."He might," they'll say,"Have built, some way,A cheaper gallows-tree!"


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